"A Masterful Quest Refined for the Times"
The Nintendo 64 gave us a lot of great games. From GoldenEye 007 to Mario Kart 64, bringing friends together for split-screen, cooperative play was the system’s greatest achievement. However, a lot of excellent single-player games also made their way to the console, with Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time leading the pack. All of these games are legendary, holding up amazingly well even today, more than a dozen years after their release.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D for Nintendo 3DS takes a true classic and makes it even better. The graphics are sharper, the controls are tighter, menu navigation is far more efficient, and the 3D visuals truly enhance the environments. If you’ve never played Ocarina of Time, or if, like me, you haven’t played it since its launch back in 1998, you’re in for a gaming treat.
- Link and Zelda come together in an adventure for the ages -
TLOZ: Ocarina of Time 3D is Link at his finest. Using an array of classic tools, Link has to accumulate three Spiritual Stones from around Hyrule on behalf of Princess Zelda before the King of the Gerudo tribe, "the man with the evil eyes" and the Zelda series' pricipal antagontist, Ganondorf, puts them together to get access to the Ocarina of Time and, subsequently, the power of the Triforce. It’s an archetypal Zelda story, but one that’s certainly worth playing again or for the very first time.
Gameplay in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is also typical Zelda fare, filled with formulaic mechanics that gamers have enjoyed for years now -- scour the dungeon for the map, compass, and unique implement while solving environmental puzzles until finally arriving at a 3-phase boss battle where the newly-acquired item is used to defeat the enemy. While Zelda titles never waver from their adherence to tried-and-true gameplay mechanics, something that tends to make most serialized video games feel stale, the satisfaction of solving the puzzles and acquiring new abilities keeps things enjoyable, regardless.
Outside of the more standard elements of gameplay, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D gives players a lot of bonus content to wade through. Explorers are rewarded with secret grottos, hidden goodies, and fairy fountains, while collectors and completionists will want to find every golden Skulltula and heart fragment and break every fishing record. Upon completion of the game, a mirrored Master Quest mode opens up, which features more challenging opponents and rearranged dungeons. Additionally, a Boss Challenge mode extends the fun long after the campaigns are over by giving players a tower mode / gauntlet of classic Legend of Zelda bosses to best. There really is a lot of excellent content packed into this tiny cart.
Without a doubt, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is essentially identical to its N64 predecessor, but the Nintendo 3DS handheld’s unique properties have made it a lot less frustrating and even more visually pleasing. The most important upgrade found OoT 3D is the implementation of a second screen. Whereas in the original players had to access a separate menu screen to reference the map and change equipment, wresting them away from the action, wasting time, and ramping up levels of frustration, the tactile lower screen gives you all of this vital information on the fly with a mere touch of the screen. This has done wonders for streamlining the experience, giving players a much more efficient and pleasurable way to enjoy the game.
Another important upgrade is the crisper visual presentation. The upper screen of the 3DS supports a higher resolution than the N64 ever could output, so every creature, texture, special effect, and object looks very sharp. I especially enjoyed the occasional vistas Link views from high perches, as well as the way light from the sun and moon plays with the environments.
Of course, the stereoscopic 3D is a brilliant element; one that I tended to use sparingly but enjoyed immensely, nonetheless. While cruising through dungeons with the 3D effect can actually be a bit of a hindrance due to the 3DS’s narrow viewing angle, I was impressed with how landscapes, shops, and enclosed spaces come to life through the 3D effect; the illusion of boxes in the background, pitchers in the foreground, and people in between intensifies the immersion immensely. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D looks great, and the added 3D effect complements the experience perfectly.
- His trusty steed Epona helps Link traverse the expansive map of Hyrule -
Finally, the sound design is outstanding! All the ambient effects come through cleanly and are exactly what you’d expect from a Zelda title. However, what really steals the show is the exquisite music that distinguishes every zone and dungeon with real quality. Not only does the music nicely complement the varied environments and unique character of every setting, but the composition of the tracks by Koji Kondo is legendary. Long after you put down the 3DS after a gaming session, you’ll be humming and whistling the tunes gleefully. The music on hand is definitely one of the best aspects of this masterful game.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is a masterpiece of gaming, and it is improved in every meaningful facet in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D for Nintendo 3DS. This is a console seller as far as I’m concerned, and I look forward to Nintendo reviving a handful of select titles of similar quality and bringing them to 3DS.
GameDynamo's Score for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS)
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Cutting his gaming teeth at Aladdin's Castle and on the Commodore 64, JC entered into video game journalism in 2008. Helping run GameDynamo as its director is both a dream and a rewarding challenge.
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